In a video interview between Yael Lautman Offir, human resources consultant at the Mandel Foundation–Israel, and Professor Jehuda Reinharz, president and CEO of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, Professor Reinharz spoke about the late Mort Mandel from a personal perspective, and as someone from whom he learned a great deal.
The video interview was one of the main highlights of the first Fellows' Day event at the Mandel Foundation–Israel, which was held in a specially designed virtual space that brought together the fellows and faculty of all the Foundation’s leadership programs in order to familiarize them with the Foundation’s activities and fields of interest, and enabled them to forge connections with other members of the Mandel community.
In the conversation, Jehuda spoke about the first time he met Mort in Boston. At that meeting, Mort asked him to join the Foundation's board of directors, to which Jehuda, who was still president of Brandeis University, responded: "Mort, I don't have the time. I'm busy…." But since it was "impossible to say no to Mort," he joined the board.
Jehuda also spoke about the special relationship between Mort and his brothers, who were his life-long business and Foundation partners. He recounted that Mort could be demanding and awe-inspiring on the one hand, and emotional and warm on the other. He spoke about Mort's endless curiosity, his openness to learn from anyone, his humility, his great philanthropy, and his strong connection to the State of Israel, which began after the Six Day War.
At the end of the conversation, Jehuda spoke about his close relationship with Mort over the years and their last conversation before Mort passed away. "He was a dear friend and a guide and I believe that he's up there, still looking down and testing us. He wants to know how we're doing. And I think that overall he would be quite pleased."